Nonprofits eye new space where Charleston artists can live and work

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FLICKR USER HELEN HARROP
  • flickr user Helen Harrop
Hoping to provide better opportunities for Charleston’s creative community, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has enlisted the aid of a leading national developer of spaces for artists to live and work.

Since 1979, Artspace has completed more than 35 projects across the country providing permanent locations for artists to hone their craft, and Charleston may be next. On Feb. 24-25, representatives from the nonprofit will scout local neighborhoods for potential project locations, as well as meet with arts, business, and government leaders to discuss the future of the area’s artistic community. This study will include a series of focus groups to discuss the workspace needs of local artists and potential sources of funding for new facilities dedicated to the arts.

A public town hall meeting is scheduled for Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Charleston Museum Auditorium in downtown Charleston to provide the public with an opportunity to offer input on the process.

A majority of developments owned or operated by Artspace are mixed-use or live/work projects and include more than 1,100 residential units. The organization defines “live/work spaces” as a residential building in which each artist has at least 100 square feet of extra space to use as a studio. According to Artspace, each project takes around four to seven years to complete. With residential developments, the nonprofit often seeks a mix of private and public funding sources, and a majority of rental rates are set using affordable housing guidelines to accommodate those earning 60 percent of an area’s median income or less.  


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